Bussie leads WVU past TCU at Big 12 women's tourney
OKLAHOMA CITY - West Virginia got exactly what it expected from TCU on Saturday night.
The Mountaineers won each of the two regular-season meetings by four points, and this one was just as tough. Asya Bussie had 18 points and 13 rebounds to help No. 7 West Virginia defeat TCU 67-59 Saturday night in the Big Ten women's tournament quarterfinals.
"Let's give TCU a lot of credit, came out and played extremely hard," West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. "They played us extremely hard all three times. I knew this was going to be like this, this game, and I told the team when we knew we were playing them last night that they're a great team."
Taylor Palmer scored 11 points and Christal Caldwell added 10 for the Mountaineers, (28-3), who won their 11th consecutive game and advanced to Sunday's semifinals.
Zahna Medley scored a season-high 32 points for the Horned Frogs (18-14) and missed matching her career high by three points. She made 8 of 17 field goals and 6 of 12 3-pointers.
"I'll tell you what, she was amazing tonight," TCU coach Jeff Mittie said. "She had a look. I thought we were able to find her a lot of different ways."
None of Medley's teammates scored more than six points. TCU made just 2 of 11 3-pointers in the second half after making 4 of 8 in the first.
The biggest difference was on the boards. The Mountaineers outrebounded the Horned Frogs 42-27 and had 20 second-chance points on 20 offensive rebounds. Bussie, a 6-foot-4 center, had seven offensive boards.
"I think Bussie is just a tremendous player down there, and we just had trouble finding a way to keep her off the glass," Mittie said. "I thought our first shot defense was good, but keeping them off the glass was critical, and we weren't able to do that."
West Virginia grabbed an early 11-4 lead, but Medley rallied the TCU with a pair of 3-pointers that cut the Mountaineers' lead to 15-14.
WVU pulled ahead, but Medley responded with back-to-back 3s again to give TCU a 24-23 lead.
The teams were tied at 31 at halftime. Medley scored 19 points and made 4 of 6 3-pointers in the first half.
Caldwell scored 10 points before the break for West Virginia before the break.
A 3-pointer by Medley, her sixth of the game, put the Horned Frogs up 43-39, but West Virginia quickly recovered, and a 3 by Palmer put the Mountaineers up 47-45. Palmer made another 3 to put the Mountaineers ahead 54-47 with about 8 minutes to play.
"I wasn't thinking about it," Palmer said. "When I got the ball, I just saw the basket and I shot it with the utmost confidence, and I was hitting, so it was good."
TCU chipped away until the final minutes, but couldn't regain the lead.
West Virginia led 61-56, and TCU had the ball with a chance to cut into its deficit, but Bussie stole the ball to help the Mountaineers hang on.
Jess Harlee, a first-team All-Defense selection in the Big 12 this season, was able to slow Medley in the latter stages of the game, which helped the Mountaineers hang on. Medley made just one field goal after Harlee checked in with 13:28 remaining. The 6-1 Harlee used her size to bother the 5-6 Medley.
"That's what I knew my role was when I got in there, that I had to stick her and make sure she didn't get the ball," Harlee said. "So I just did my best that once she passed it up, I didn't want her to get the ball back. And if people were driving, I wasn't helping off of her. So my goal was just not to let her catch the ball, even from full court on."